A new patch, an evolving meta, and rule tweaks in the early rounds
The first week of games have finished in OGNs 3rd Apex season and already we are seeing some big differences from the first 2 seasons. New rule adjustments and a change in the meta has seen a shift in the premier Overwatch competition. While the format remains mostly the same, the adjustments to the rules have helped even things out and provided some exciting new options for teams. The newer patch with the 1 tick capture (tie breakers) for assault maps has come into play (even if it was a day late). The patch also features the Lucio changes and Orisa is now available to play. Also the map pool has been expanded, meaning all maps are now available for selection in each map type, removing any map selection advantages some teams were able to enjoy in season 2. Read on to see some more takeaways from the early games.
Triple DPS is here
It is interesting to see how the meta has changed over the months from triple tank, to 2–2–2, to dive and now we are here at a pseudo dive slash triple dps meta. Korean teams have started to experiment more running triple dps however they are noticeably still requiring more practice running this composition after being use to 2–2–2 and dive. Mercy is seeing a lot more play instead of Ana (Ana’s damage nerf has decreased her value dramatically) and the Phar-Mercy combo has been used to great effect in the first round especially Raskal taking Lunatic Hai to task in the early sets and Mirage putting in a solid showing for Runaway. While the dive composition is still the main meta, teams are starting to find counters to it. Kongdoo managed to expose Lunatic Hai early on taking a 2–0 lead. While Lunatic Hai would come from behind to win, it showed a team stubborn to change and that the dive could be out played in the right situations.
Widow can gain an early advantage
Multiple times in the first round we have seen teams run Widow from the start of the set to try and gain a couple of early picks setting up that instant advantage. Sayaplayer, Pine and KariV all have impressive highlight reels from the first round making some crazy pick shots with Widow. While most of them don’t stick with her for long, she has been devastating in some of the early exchanges and now with the ability to sub in a player, we could maybe see more Widow specialist players be added to teams.
Big teams slow to start, others struggle mentally
There was a lot of rust as players were struggling to get back into the swing of the big stage. Lunatic Hai looked especially slow going down 0–2 early in the match before rallying back to win 3–2 . Players from all teams were making simple mistakes while others looked a bit sheepish and slow to adjust when reacting to the teams who had obviously had more recent game time. Some games devolved into total slug-fests aka Meta Athena vs BK Stars. Runaway got rolled 3–0 after 4 of their players were struggling with the flu. Rogue had a mostly impressive first outing, except being totally exposed on assault maps. Their showing on Temple of Anubis was embarrassing. LWB went down early to Conbox but Conbox mentally fell apart after LWB won a very close second set, consequently shutting them out 3–1. This showed some teams still had a lot of work ahead of them. Unfortunately with most of the 16 teams being of a very high calibre, there is very little room for error this season.
Sombra is making a huge impact
On assault maps, Sombra has been used to devastating effect. Her Ult can be charged extremely quickly and her ability to get in and harass the back-line and close out health packs have bumped her up to a top tier character choice. Teams still need to practice more using her (and defending against) and not over-rely on her (I’m looking at you Conbox) but she is def now part of the meta in Apex.
Tactical Pause or Player substitution
While the tactical pause was introduced in the previous season, a new substitution rule has now been implemented in season 3. The new rule allows a team to either take a tactical pause or to sub out a player in between sets. Because only some teams have more than 6 players, each team can only use one or the other to keep it fair. This new rule change opens up a lot of options for teams now. Being able to bring in a player with a different character pool allows for changing team compositions on the fly or allows teams to bring in a ‘specialist’ for a map or being able to sub them out after the early sets (the control map could be specifically targeted here). To a lesser degree it can also be used as a tool to blood new players into the competitive scene and give them a taste of the big stage. This is an exciting new rule change and it will be interesting to see how teams utilize this going forward.
Last but not least, the new Lucio changes are in effect. The decreased range of healing means Lucio is now going to be in the front lines for maximum effect making him much more vulnerable especially with his decreased self-heal. Players are mostly use to keeping Lucio close at hand but now with his decreased range and the switch to triple dps we could see a drastic change in how Lucio is used in the coming weeks as teams adjust to his altered play style.
Make sure you keep tuning into OGN Global to see more great games as season 3 unfolds and we will update the action and stories as they unfold.
Marcus Powell has been living and working in South Korea since 2010. Aside from writing for Gangnam Gamers, he is also a popular club DJ, English Teacher, gamer, sports and esports fan and anime enthusiast.